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University of Iowa News Release

March 12, 2004

Photo: Timothy Stalter, director of choral activities at the UI School of Music. Click here for a high-resolution image.

UI Symphony And Choruses Will Present Mozart's Requiem March 24

The University of Iowa Symphony and Choruses will perform Mozart's Requiem for the last concert of the symphony's 2003-2204 Signature Series at 8 p.m Wednesday, March 24 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.

The performance, under the direction of Timothy Stalter, director of choral activities at the UI School of Music, will include both the Requiem, K626, the last, uncompleted work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Mozart's "Regina coeli" K276, a much earlier choral work. The Requiem will be performed in the version edited and completed by Robert Levin.

Students in the UI School of Music will be featured as soloists in both works. Soloists in the Requiem will be Emily Johnson, soprano; Jamie Marble, alto; Dennis Willhoit, tenor; and Edward Corpus, bass. For the "Regina coeli," they will be Heather Youngquist, soprano; Margaret Clair, alto; Jeffrey Bieber, tenor; Michael Krzankowski, bass.

Prior to the performance, Stalter and musicologist Peter Alexander will present a discussion of Mozart's Requiem and the many mysteries that surround this enigmatic work. They will discuss the circumstances of the commissioning and composition of the Requiem, the mysteries and the legends that surround Mozart's death and the many different attempts that have been made to complete the Requiem for performance. This discussion will be at 7 p.m. in the Hancher Greenroom, and will be open to all ticket holders for the performance.

The Requiem was the last composition Mozart undertook, although it remained unfinished at his death. The later movements, finished by Mozart's pupil Franz Xaver Suessmayr, completed what is often called one of the greatest choral achievements in all of western music.

The story of its composition is well known: in the summer of 1791, a mysterious stranger showed up on Mozart's doorstep and asked for a Requiem to be written secretly, offering a large payment in return. Mozart quickly accepted, although other obligations -- including his last two operas and a clarinet concerto -- occupied his attention until the fall.

Soon after he started work on the Requiem, Mozart fell ill, and he became convinced that the work was for his own death. On one occasion he told his wife that he feared he had been poisoned, and that his enemies had even calculated the very day of his death. He worked at a fast pace but was unable to complete the Requiem before he died on Dec. 5.

Mozart's widow arranged for Suessmayr, who had received the composer's final, deathbed instructions for the Requiem, to complete the missing portions of the score, both so that she could earn income from benefit performances of Mozart's last work and so that she could deliver a finished work to the mysterious commissioner -- actually a Count Walsegg, who wanted the work as a memorial to his deceased wife.

Because many details of this story were unknown at the time, a number of legends and myths have grown up around the Requiem. The suggestions that Mozart was killed -- supposedly by the Austrian Court composer Antonio Salieri -- have persisted to the present. Even though there is no medical evidence to support this allegation, it was kept alive in the 1980s and '90s by Peter Shaffer's popular play "Amadeus" and Milos Forman's subsequent film.

All of the myths and mysteries have contributed to the Requiem's mystique. But apart from such fascinating historical background, the work is regarded as a great masterpiece, but one that is flawed by not having been completed. The shortcoming of Suessmayr's completion have spurred many later musicians to create other versions of the Requiem, some that leave out anything that Mozart did not have a hand in, and others that include newly composed material.

The version selected by Stalter was completed in 1994 by Robert Levin, a performer and musical scholar specializing in music of the 18th century. This version includes all of Suessmayr's movements, with alterations, as well as a newly written "Amen" fugue based on sketch by Mozart that was discovered around 1960.

Stalter joined the UI faculty as director of choral activities in 1999. He directs Kantorei, the premier choral ensemble of the School of Music, teaches graduate conducting courses, and administers the graduate program in choral conducting. He has research interests in teaching conducting to undergraduate and graduate students and historical music performance practices. An active member of the American Choral Directors Association, he frequently presents clinics and workshops in choral conducting around the United States.

In addition to conducting and teaching choral music, Stalter is active as a tenor soloist in the United States and abroad. A specialist in the music of the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods, he is known for his performances as the Evangelist in the Passions of J.S. Bach and Heinrich Schuetz. He has appeared as tenor soloist with Apollo's Fire, the Newfoundland Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in France, the Robert Shaw Chamber Choir in Atlanta, the Classical Music Seminar and Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, and the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. He has recorded as tenor soloist with conductor Robert Shaw on two compact discs released on the Telarc label.

Prior to coming to the UI, Stalter was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Goshen College in Indiana. He received a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied with renowned choral conductor Robert Fountain, and a masters from the University of Illinois, where he studied with Don Moses, who was UI director of choral activities in the 1980s.

Tickets to the performance of Mozart's Requiem are $8 (UI student and youth $3; senior citizen $6). Tickets are available from the Hancher Auditorium box office. Box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets also may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hancher box office website: http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher

Hancher box office orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

The UI School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <ur-acr@uiowa.edu>.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072, peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.

PHOTOS are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa/photos.html.